Published DateTILTON — Futsal, an indoor version of soccer played with a smaller ball with less bounce than a regular soccer ball, will be coming to the Lakes Region this fall and winter.,
''It will be one the youth sports activities that will be taking place here,'' says Bob Callahan, owner of the Tilton Sports Center on Autumn Drive, where a 10,000-square-foot indoor turf field has just been installed.
Callahan says that he expects that futsal will gain in popularity as it is introduced to the area, but expects the main focus of activity on the 80-foot-by-120-foot turf field will be youth soccer and both youth and adult lacrosse.
Futsal, which was developed in Brazil and Uruguay in the 1930s and 1940s as a solution to the lack of available soccer fields, is played indoors between two teams of five players each, one of whom is the goalkeeper.
''Futsal is a great sport and is really good for helping young soccer players develop ball control and passing skills,'' says Scott Ruggles, Tilton School soccer coach, who says that the turf field offers an ideal spot for both futsal and youth soccer, as well as lacrosse.
The parent of five children ranging in age from 5 to 13, Ruggles says he feels fortunate to have the new facility right in his own backyard providing youth sports league activities.
''Parents like me have had to drive to Bow, which is at least 20 minutes away for indoor youth sports. Now can get here in five minutes for youth soccer games. This is a great facility to start a youth league and get the kids to play during the winter months,'' says Ruggles.
Another parent looking forward to having the facility nearby is Eric Pyra of Tilton, who volunteers in youth soccer and says that both his 12-year-old daughter and 10-year-old son play soccer .
''It's going to cut down a lot on the driving to and from games,'' says Pyra.
Callahan says that both the Lakes Region Lacrosse Club and the Lakes Region United Soccer league have signed on and will be playing games at the sports center starting in the fall.
He expects that the facility will be greatly in demand for sports camps and clinics during the summer months and for baseball as well.
''I can see a lot of leagues wanting to have batting practice cages set up during the winter and mud season in the spring,'' says Ruggles.
Callahan says that he decided last summer to turn the large, open space inside the former warehouse building into a state-of-the-art, year-round recreational facility which will have multiple uses and is geared primarily to the youth and adult leagues.
''This is something the area needs, and we're happy to be in a position to provide it,'' says Callahan,.
He said that he's fortunate in that most of the infrastructure for the center was already in place as a result of his having developed the property seven years ago as the Granite Media Center, which will continue to operate out of the building as an independent entity providing film production services.
He says that the turf field arrived in late June and after it was installed some 24,000 pounds of rubber infill were worked into the grass-like turf to provide a cushioned feel for those using the field.
This week the Tilton Indoor Sports Center was certified as an approved indoor sports center by the New Hampshire Soccer Association.
''It's the fourth facility in the state to be certified,'' said Cory Halvorsen of Barnstead, the vice president of indoor soccer for the NH Soccer Association.
Halvorsen is active with Revolution United, a youth soccer program for children 10 TO 18 years old in Barnstead.
''We have 110 kids involved and expect to be playing here a lot after November,'' he says.
Bob Callahan, owner of the Tilton Sports Center, which has installed a 10,000 square foot indoor turf field, is shown with Cory Halvorsen of Barnstead, the vice president of indoor soccer for the NH Soccer Association; Scott Ruggles, Tilton School soccer coach, and Erica Pyra of Tilton, a youth sports league volunteer. Halvorsen and Ruggles are holding a futsal, a small soccer ball with less bounce than a normal one, which is used in futsal, an indoor version of soccer. (Roger Amsden photo for the Laconia Daily Sun)